Well the Men of Four Feathers made my first wrap a little harder than it needed to be, but I'll just have to suck it up. The game tonight started off well enough as Marian Hossa took advantage of a close non-icing call and a gracious Welcome-to-Canada-turnover from Carl Gunnarsson, and went double 5 hole on Schenn and Reimer to open the scoring 70 seconds in. About three minutes later, Phil Kessel (In what I'm certain was his first selfish turnover of the season) tried to stick handle through several hawks before losing the handle on the puck, resulting in a Brouwer-Frolik 2 on 1 that Fro slipped under the glove of Reimer.
After a big penalty kill that followed an unsuccessful 5 on 3 powerplay, Q sent Hossa out with Daydream nation to try and seize momentum back with a quick strike. In what seems like a once per game occurrence these days, Daydream nation (with a nice entry pass from Hoss) executed a highlight reel rush as Kane hit a streaking Toews for a beautiful backdoor goal. And just like that, the Hawks walked into the Air Canada Centre, and after 20 minutes of play, put the roadies on notice that DLR might be making a post-game appearance. Unfortunately, Nick Leddy is far too young to appreciate 80's rock as he telegraphed a D to D pass that Joffrey Lupul intercepted and buried top shelf. The Hawks would get that goal back later in period, thanks to great forechecking from Stalberg and Ryan Johnson and a where-the-fuck-did-that-come-from roof job by TomoKop. The Hawks finished the 2nd period strong as Bickell cleaned up Bolland's...ahem, "sloppy seconds" on yet another 2 on 1 rush.
Things got a little interesting in the third when Jake Dowell's bad pass and/or failed clearing attempt was thrown back on net and redirected in by Joey Crabb. In a fit of sleep walking that would make Brennan Huff and Dale Doback proud, the Hawks made the last 20 minutes of Corey Crawford's 11th straight start as difficult as possible. Crow was up to the challenge as he snuffed out numerous quality scoring chances, including an excellent bid from Mikhail Grabovski on a penalty shot. Luke Schenn made sure to take a little more luster off of the win by capitalizing on a Seabrook turnover in the final minute. That's the anticlimactic way it all went down, let's get to the bullets.
- How on earth did the Hawks manage to recover from not scoring on the 2 man advantage and still win this game?! Love me some Pat Foley, but dude, we get it already. 5 on 3's can lead to a big momentum swing one way or another, and they often dictate which way the game is called thereafter, but I can't take the "Hey Edzo/Stevie, you know how important Q thinks these 5 on 3s are, he says that whoever comes out in better shape normally wins the game" spiel anymore. Not only is the dead horse sufficiently beaten, you just give everyone the unnecessary feeling of impending doom based on less than 3% of the total game.
- I'm not really cunning enough to make a music reference and just let it be, so I'm just going to have to force feed it to you. After 2 frames, we were all hopeful that the hawks would pour it on and that a Mr. David Lee Roth would grace us with his presence this evening. Well, on the 5th game in 7 nights, which was played on the second night of a back-to-back after a 3am arrival the previous night, it's fair to say that you can't always get what you want; you get what you need, which was an eighth straight win and two more points in the standings.
- I think that many of us were a little annoyed that
Mikka Kiprusoff, Evgeni Nabakov, Corey Crawford was getting his eleventh straight start tonight. It's pretty much common knowledge that the kid could use a break, and what better time for that then on the 2nd night of a back-to-back, against an Eastern Conference opponent? While I'm a little worried about Crow wearing down, and I may get raked over the coals for this, I'll say that I'm not so sure that the Hawks win this game in regulation with Marty Turco in net. Crow was real solid tonight and made a number of tough saves to keep a comeback from gaining momentum. All that being said, Turco had better get a start on Tuesday or Wednesday, or we may see some collateral damage from this winning streak rear its ugly head in late April/early May. Not only that, I think after about 4 or 5 games Frolik probably asked Dowell who the old guy at the end of the bench is, which is never good for team chemistry
- When you name your kid Joey Crabb are you okay with the inevitability that he will be a playground bully? Joey Crabb, textbook name for a kid who wants my lunch money, and Hack needs his lunch money.
- After Daydream Nation contributed to the big third goal, they were largely unnoticable for the next 40 minutes (Johnny even had an off night at the dot w/ only 39%). Let's hope that this was simply a case of tired legs rather than them starting to cool down.
- Speaking of cooling down, Sharp has put on quite the spazfest over the last 4 periods or so. Sharpie can't be perfect all of the time, but we'll need him to bury the easy ones down the stretch.
- Does Ron Wilson have his defensemen practice on a 125' rink? There's roughly 75 feet behind your own blueline, fellas, you may not want to let opposing players waltz around you for an easy odd man rush. This occurred several times during the first 30 minutes of play.
- Bickell's had a decent couple of games here. Scoring goals from inside of 30 feet and knocking Captain Fauxhawk on his ass, more of this please.
- Compared to others in the Hawks blogosphere, I've been pretty easy on Nick Leddy. That being said, after a solid first period tonight, the kid's brain just shut down. The giveaway on Lupul's goal, the Dunc-esqe shot into the defender's shinpads that lead to Gravbovski's breakaway and subsequent penalty shot, and the "Oh yeah, I forgot that I can't do that" delay of game penalty are all things that will lose you playoff games.
- So for the first time in his two year Blackhawk career, Tomas Kopecky rips a (not on edge puck) wrist shot top shelf over the glove. It's the only time I can remember that happening and it comes on my game wrap, maybe it's a sign. Making things worse were Foley and Konroyd who spent the next couple of minutes raving about Tomas Kopecky's "accurate shot" and what a great tool it is, not only for him, but for preparing his goalies for similar shots from opposing snipers. Thanks for that, guys, wake me up in two years when he does it again. And before you dismiss this bullet as straight Kopecky hate, I'll mention that I'm equally annoyed that Hossa doesn't score those kind of goals either.
- Hossa scored again and Campbell was the ice time leader, that's like a for sure win, right?
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Aside from not being aggressive enough on Lupul's goal, Crow was money. Blowing a 5-1 lead might have undone all of the good that this 8 game winning streak has brought to the team, but Crow made sure that didn't happen.